Every other blog post I write is for you. Today is kinda about me. I’m sorry. Really I LOVE to share ideas, creativity and friendship through this space. But today is a little different, I’m letting you see behind the scenes of a blog for a few reasons, the main being I need your help. All your favorite bloggers need your help. The thing is you can’t help if #1 we don’t ask and #2 you don’t know how. Today I’m filling you in on a bunch of stuff I had NO CLUE about when I started blogging a few years ago, so I’m assuming many of you have no idea either! I hope you’ll stick with me on this one because it’s an interesting peek at how the cyber world works and how you can help some of your favorite online friends. You can read more about why I started blogging here.
- We blog because we LOVE it – I’m here to tell you first and foremost the bloggers and online creatives I know blog out of a passionate heart to share whatever gift they are given. It may morph into a career and become mega popular but at the root, we are lead by our passion and call. I can’t fully speak for everyone, but this is what I know to be true of the wonderful people I have met on this journey. That being said everything we do is personal, it’s us putting our hearts and ideas on the line. That can be tender ground at times. I start with this point because it feeds all the others, we share for your good and inspiration, but also for the good of our owns hearts and creativity. Most of us would say we NEED to do what we do or our minds would burst.
- The main points of social media – WOW. I have learned a lot about social media. When God called me to start this blog, I was barely a blip on the social media map, I personally hated Facebook and Pinterest was an occasional fun pastime. I soon realized it’s an integral part of growing a blog and I had to dive in head first if I wanted this little blog to gain any traction. Here are a few things I wish people who don’t use social media professionally knew (and wish I would have known as a regular user). You know when you post a heartfelt essay about something near and dear to you and get two likes (one of which is your mom), then the next person in your Facebook feed posts a picture of an enchilada dinner and gets 250 likes, 30 comments and 5 shares? You’re thinking what the? Do I stink? Do people hate me? Well, I know the feeling, it’s part of why I hated Facebook! I got my feelings hurt. All. the. time. Guess what? That situation isn’t all about people not caring for you or what you had to say. It’s about algorithms. All social media has algorithms they devise in an effort to make you more social and their platform more enjoyable for the user. The algorithms don’t always work out like they should. Basically the more you post, the more likes, comments, shares or interaction and the more active you are on other people’s accounts makes the social algorithms happy and in return cause them to release your posts to more people. They promote what they deem “popular”. You can have 10,000 followers, but they will rarely (if ever) all see what you post. The social media channel decides who to show what based on the algorithms it determines. Crazy right? It’s one of the reasons we, as bloggers, post A TON, not to be all in your face, but we are just hoping you see some of it! Believe me, I like to be a fly on the wall in social media sometimes, just scrolling by stuff and not interacting, even when I love what I see. But friends…that’s the same as voting NO, you are telling the algorithm, “I don’t think this is great, don’t show other people.” That’s why it is SO IMPORTANT and we are constantly asking you to share, like, tweet, comment, pin or whatever interaction it is you do. It’s HUGE for us bloggers. Even if you think, “I only have two followers on Pinterest, how can that help her?” Please trust me – it does. It all adds up and makes such a difference to us. If you love a blogger, share their stuff in any way you can. The more you interact with your favorite bloggers or friends (like, pin, etc.) the more you will see them show up in your feed. If you don’t like what someone is posting (blogger or annoying 3rd cousin) you can unfollow them. It’s honestly better to unfollow them than constantly see them and not interact. Maybe these tips will help you personally not feel so ignored and unnoticed on social media. I had no idea before I learned more than I care to know about it. For the record, I still don’t love social media 🙁 Proof that you never know how things will work…this random pic is one of my most popular pins on Pinterest. Feel free to re-pin 😉
- Blog Traffic is Important – We want people to visit our blogs, plan and simple. There are various reasons so I will try to explain a few. A) At least for me…I share a lot of messages God places on my heart and I hope to reach as many as I can with those messages. While reaching one person is enough, everyone is worth saving. The more people who come to this space, the more that will hear the gospel. B) We work really hard to share creative ideas and it just feels good to know our hard work is noticed. C) It’s one of the main ways we make money – I will explain more later. Sharing as mentioned above helps drive traffic to our blog – you can help with that and we would totally appreciate it! The more our readers help drive traffic, the more time we have to bring you great content. Shameless plug…here are my social media accounts you can follow if you don’t already! Please and thank you!
- How do blogs make money? – Some people blog for hobby and some make huge incomes off their blog. Most of us sit somewhere in the middle and make a nice supplemental income for our family. It’s our job. I have set some personal goals for the blog this year and one is to increase my income. Believe it or not outside of the time and money we spend on projects, blogs cost money to run. You have web hosting fees, social media app fees, camera equipment, domain name fees, classes to learn about all this stuff, e-mail fees, the list can go on and on. It’s not a ton of money, but it does add up and the more you make this a job the more it costs. Especially if you are serious about investing in your business. You might be interested to know that most blog posts take HOURS to complete. Between creating the project, photographing it, writing the post then there is the sharing and promoting we do after the post goes live…it’s a lot of work. And we joyfully and willingly share this with you for free, like I said before it’s what we feel called to do!!! So how do we make money to cover those costs and then some? A few ways.
- A) Ads – the ads you see in side bars, across the top or bottom and in posts make us money simply by you seeing them. The more people who see them the more we make…hence the need for traffic. If you click on them we make even more. The ads are shown to you individually based on your personal search history in a very “big brother” sort of way. That means you looking at my blog may see one ad and your friend looking at the exact same thing on her computer will see different ads. Crazy again!
- B) Sponsored Posts – When we use or review a product it’s often for a sponsored post. That means we either got paid or were given free product. I use products I love all the time that are not sponsored. I’m super picky and will only take a sponsor of something I truly like and believe in. Most bloggers are that way, we are getting paid, but will only use things we are honestly proud to promote. We are required to disclose when a post is sponsored. Traffic and followers play in here as well. The more you have the more you can get paid for this type of post. If you notice a post is sponsored we crave comments and interaction even more. Bloggers want to do the best job possible for the brands we love, let them know you love them too!
- C) Affiliate Links – When we give you a supply list or link to products we love they are often affiliate links (we are required to disclose affiliate links as well). It means we have special traceable links and if you make a purchase through that link we’ll get a small commission. I do mean small, usually 3%-7%, sometimes higher. The product cost you exactly the same, the fee is built into the marketing budget for these brands or stores. The amount seems small, but believe it or not it adds up! For example…these tulips (affiliate link), I heart them so much…
- D) We sell stuff – Many bloggers branch out into selling something they create or curate. From handmade items to vintage goodies, e-books and instructional courses these items help add to the income mix. There are some incredibly talented people sharing their wares and knowledge throughout the blogging world. You can find some of the most unique items and gain deep vats of knowledge through these folks, all while supporting someone in a very direct way! I have an Etsy shop where I sell a few items like vintage items, pillows and this shirt I designed… There are other ways bloggers make money but these are the most common venues for revenue. It all adds up and provides the support we need to keep coming at you with fresh FREE content! Your support in any way is appreciated.
- It gets lonely – Any type of work from home job has it’s pros and cons. One of the biggest cons in blogging is the lonely factor (at least I think so). We spend a ton of time behind a screen or working on projects…alone! With no in person co-workers to banter with and bounce ideas off of it can feel really quiet. That’s one reason we LOVE to hear from you…comments, questions, encouragement and just plan old day to day stuff. I love to hear it all. Nothing makes my day more than when a reader friend e-mails or sends pictures of an inspired project or craft they replicated. My heart melts. Every time. I’m guilty of following along on blogs I love and never chiming in, but I’m gonna to work on that! This is also a reason you will hear about bloggers trekking cross country for a blog conference, we go to learn but also just to be around “work” people!
- Unsubscribe – Most bloggers have an e-mail list you can sign up to join. All the latest updates will slide right into your inbox and tap you on the shoulder saying, “open me please!” But guess what!? We pay for mail service based on the number of subscribers. Here is a really crazy request…if you aren’t going to open e-mails from a blogger you signed up with, unsubscribe. I know I’m constantly asking you to join my e-mail list and now telling you to unsubscribe. Hopefully this blog is one you love and you open every e-mail like a kid at Christmas, but if you get e-mails from some blog you don’t love, unsubscribe and let their list be smaller, it’s good for the blogger and actually costs them less money! Now, I understand you may not open every single e-mail, nobody has time for that, I’m referring to the e-mail you get and NEVER open. Unsubscribes used to hurt my feelings, but now I don’t even look at them. I want followers who are vested in the conversation and relationship we are forming here. If it’s not the right place for you I completely understand! E-mail also has hidden algorithms determining what goes in your junk mail or inbox. The more our e-mails are opened and interacted with the less likely they are to fall in the junk pile. Open rates on e-mails are crazy low. For every 1,000 e-mails sent usually only 100-300 of people will actually open the e-mail and even fewer interact and click through. BTW you can subscribe here if you haven’t already 😉
- Feedback is Good – Your feedback is awesome. Amazing. Wanted. Needed. Of course, as referenced in #1 this is a often a personal and tender space, so let us down gently if you don’t like something! The truth is we would love to hear what you want to see more or less of. If you have a question chances are someone else does too so ask, we want to be helpful. We aren’t going to agree on everything but when shared with good intentions suggestions, corrections (like when I frequently misspell things) and opinions make for a wonderful, lively space. On that note, we are often a one woman (or man) show and editing gets hard. We misspell and grammar falls to the way side often. I really do know the difference between your and you’re, to and too, there and their, but pumping out multiple posts a week and still paying attention to my husband and children sometimes gets the best of me. 🙂 Grace is welcome!
- Theft – Dirty word. I know it. Can you even believe this is in the list? You’ve probably heard lots of commotion about musical artist and the fights they have with music share spaces online. Blogging is very similar. Our content is our artwork and it gets stolen. A lot actually. Sometimes innocently and sometimes by big web sites that know the difference. The bottom line is if you see our photography, recipe or project somewhere (social media or internet) and there is not a link giving us credit you are likely looking at stolen content. Please feel free to send us a screen shot or link if you suspect stolen property, we do have means to have it taken down. People stand to make money the same as we do and unfortunately many use other people’s hard work to make free money. If you re-post something or use a picture off our site that is great, as long as you tag and give credit to let people know where to find us. This is the kind of sharing we love, need and appreciate!
- Asking for help is hard – Have you ever asked for help? It’s hard. Pride is a stinker. I want to make this space incredible. I want your cup to be filled here multiple times a week. But the bottom line is it takes a lot to run a successful blog and spread the word about it. I can’t do it alone, nor do I want to, so I’m asking for your help. If you love me and this place at all, in any way shape or form, will you consider all the things I told you about above and help however you feel lead…share, comment, click? If you don’t love my blog take these tips and run to the one you do, they will thank you for it! Thank you isn’t a strong enough phrase for the appreciation I feel. The time you share with me, the sharing you already do and the blessing this space is to me and my family mean the world to me. Thanks for letting me share a little today about how we can work together to bring more creative ideas to the table and let more people know about them. Overall I want to say…don’t be a stranger, let me know you are here by talking, sharing or interacting in some way. I’m asking and it’s hard, especially when you feel alone sometimes.
So tell me…any questions about all this? Anything I left out?